SMVDSB launches hi-tech pre-paid system for hiring Ponies, Pithoos, Palkis

DIG Udhampur-Reasi, BS Tuti inaugurating pre-paid system for hiring Ponies, Pithoos & Palkis at Katra.
DIG Udhampur-Reasi, BS Tuti inaugurating pre-paid system for hiring Ponies, Pithoos & Palkis at Katra.

Excelsior Correspondent

KATRA, Feb 27: A hi-tech computerised pre-paid system, integrated with CCTV Cameras and Video Conferencing facilities, for hiring Ponies, Pithoos and Palkis, was launched from Katra today for the facilitation of pilgrims to the Holy Cave Shrine of Shri Mata Vaishno Deviji. This facility will be available to the pilgrims round the clock.
This system was formally inaugurated by B. S. Tuti, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Udhampur-Reasi; in the presence of Simrandeep Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; Indu Kanwal Chib, Deputy Commissioner, Reasi; and Nisha Nathyal, SSP, Reasi at a function held at the Spiritual Growth Centre at Katra.
The system has integrated nine Pre-paid Counters from Katra to Bhairon, located at an average distance of 1.75 km from each other at Katra, Banganga, Charan-Paduka, Adhkuwari-I, Adhkuwari-II, Sanjichhat, Parvati Bhawan at Bhawan, Pony Stand Bhawan and Bhairon, from where Yatris will get Pony, Pithoo, Palki services at pre-determined rates.
The Counters will also serve as Grievance Registration Centres for Yatris which will be conveyed to Shrine Board Administration at Katra in escalation format. RFID readers and scanners installed at these nine locations will get actual number of Ponies on the track on a given day which will help Shrine Board extend appropriate sanitation services and manpower to handle the mule dung collection and its disposal.
Each Yatri will also be provided a helmet, elbow and knee pads to provide preventive cover against any accidental injury. The Counters will also provide video conferencing facilities to Shrine Board Office in order to monitor the activities and interact with employees at different yatra stations.
Under this system, a stand-alone network has been set up by G-Max Pvt. Services Ltd., a Jammu based company which got this contract from SMVDSB under Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) framework for five years from the date of its launch. The operationalisation of the Pre-paid system will eliminate any chances of over-charging by the service providers and ensure that they charge only as per the rates of Ponies, Pithoos and Palkis fixed by the District Administration, Reasi, for these services. Incidentally, the District Administration, Reasi, revised the rates for all these services, after 7 years, on 8th February, 2019.
The CEO of the Shrine Board said that the project is an outcome of NGT and Supreme Court orders on the issue of regulating Mules, capping its count, management of mule dung and overcharging etc.
All the 9 Pre-paid Counters from Banganga to the Bhawan have also become functional which were inaugurated by Vivek Verma, Additional CEO and Naresh Sharma, SDM Bhawan in presence of other officers of the Shrine Board.
Rohit Singh Sambyal, Director, G Max IT Services gave details of the Pre-paid system. G-Max Services has already been awarded National E-governance award for a similar project executed by it in Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand.
Among others present on the occasion were Dr. Arvind Karwani and Amit Vermani, Dy. CEOs of the Shrine Board; Manu Hansa, Assistant CEO; Vivek Shekhar, SDPO, Katra.